Tagged ‘Hansen‘

Guy McPherson: James Hansen & Bill McKibben are Guilty of Malpractice [VIDEO]

November 6, 2013

Excerpt from the October 16, 2013 lecture by Guy McPherson: “How Do We Act in the Face of Climate Chaos?”

Watch the full lecture here:

Read a summary of the video:

About Guy McPherson:

“More than ten years into a career in the academic ivory tower, McPherson began focusing his efforts on social criticism, with topics ranging from education and evolution to the twin sides of the fossil-fuel coin: (1) global climate change and (2) energy decline and the attendant economic consequences. His public appearances stress these two predicaments because each of them informs and impacts every aspect of life on Earth.


He also speaks about our individual and societal response to these phenomena, and includes topics such as authenticity, Socratic lives of excellence, and the role and responsibility of our species in the world.


McPherson’s latest chapter includes abandoning his tenured position as full professor at a major research university for ethical reasons. His story is described in his memoir, “Walking Away from Empire.” You can read about that book and his many others at his website:



Part II – Exposé | The 2º Death Dance – The 1º Cover-up

Exposé | The 2º Death Dance – The 1º Cover-up

Part two of an investigative report. (Part 1:

By Cory Morningstar

Above: Courtesy of Stephanie McMillan | CODE GREEN

Bolivia Versus the World

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable …” George Orwell

11 December 2010. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP) 16 in Cancún, Mexico.

Bolivia repeatedly opposes attempts to pass the text. Bolivia’s UN Ambassador, Pablo Solon, objects on the grounds that the draft proposals are far too lax to stop global warming. Solon stands his ground until conference chair Patricia Espinosa bangs the gavel at 3:31 a.m. saying: “The objections and complaints will be noted duly.”

A key clause of United Nations rules is that all agreements must be reached in harmony. However, Espinosa seems to have a very broad interpretation of this rule. Harmony, Espinosa stated, does not necessarily mean unanimity. Despite the lack of unanimity, Espinosa approves the text, which includes a deadly 2-degree limit for global warming. The negotiators and heads of state cheer like ravenous hyenas, drowning out Bolivia with rapturous applause. Bolivia stood alone, strenuously opposing the pyrrhic victory.

The overruling of Bolivia’s position demonstrates the clear disdain and callous disregard for vulnerable countries who refuse to be coerced – reflected clearly by the jettisoned UN principle of consensus. This clear abuse of the framework agreement on climate protection would never have been attempted or tolerated if the state in opposition had been a rich, powerful state such as the United States or the European Union (EU). (One may recall COP13 in Bali – American resistance stood in the way of an agreement. Papua New Guinea had to suggest that they “lead or get out of the way” before the US would join the consensus.) Bolivia, the world leader in the battle on climate change, has vowed to file a complaint with the International Court of Justice against the text approved in Cancún.

A primary reason why Bolivia opposed the so-called Cancún “agreements” was the fact that the 2ºC target – identified as extremely dangerous – completely disregards the climate science as well as the accelerating climate impacts and climate feedbacks already happening today. Another very revealing component to this document is the language: “4) … with a view to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions so as to hold the increase in global average temperature below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and that Parties should take urgent action to meet this long-term goal ….” The word “should” in policy does not demand commitment. In legal documents, “shall” is considered mandatory. If I tell my son he “should” clean his room rather than he “will”, “shall” or “must” clean his room, I know damn well it is never going to happen. A future binding or non-binding agreement, one that parties “should” take urgent action on, demands no accountability whatsoever. The word “should” appears in the document 38 times. In stark contrast, the word “must” appears only four times.

The fact that the Cancún Agreements passed without consensus (the UNFCCC consensus rule is adoption by virtue of no objection or unanimity – meaning all 192 members voting in favour)is revealing. On 7 December 2009, at COP15 in Copenhagen, Papua New Guinea proposed that, rather than descend to the lowest common denominator, the parties should strive for consensus with a fallback of 75%. This proposal was summarily dismissed by the Chair. [1]

21st Century Suicide Pact

SOLD. Our Earth’s shared atmosphere. A catastrophically dangerous 2ºC temperature rise, as well as the commodification of Earth’s final remaining natural resources, was accepted by all countries save Bolivia. Over 70% of atmospheric space (the US is historically responsible for 29% of greenhouse gas emissions; the EU, 27%) has been designated to the wealthiest 20% of the world, thus denying developing and vulnerable countries the opportunity to achieve the fundamental development necessary in order to meet their basic needs and transition to zero carbon societies. This leaves 80% of humanity competing for the less than 30% remaining interest. The suffering and devastation that will result from the greatest heist in history is unparalleled desperation, starvation and death on a massive scale.

SOLD. Life itself. During the last days of the Cancún climate summit, 5,000 Latin American campesinos blocked the main (and only) highway leading in and out of Cancún. In stark contrast, the rich of the wealthy obstructionist states lit a candle in the window of their warm, comfortable homes. How will citizens react when they finally realize – after wading through the rubbish heaps of corporate media propaganda – that the value of human life was tossed on the garbage heap in Cancún in order to protect the global economy? It is true that those in the Pacific Ocean, the vulnerable atolls, Bolivia and Africa will be burying their children and loved ones before the wealthy, obstructionist states, such as my own, must bury theirs. But make no mistake. Very few people, if any, will escape nature’s final performance. Without urgent emergency action, rapid climate shifts resulting from runaway climate change are practically inevitable with the suicide pact that was passed – without consensus – in Cancún.

The art of propaganda has been nothing less than brilliant. The deceit is so thick – you need a knife to cut through it. The corruption and greed so deep you need wings to stay above it and thigh high boots to wade through it. An alluring tapestry of luminous lies, interwoven with finely textured deception and silk-like corruption – as smooth and seductive as freshly churned butter. The pursuit of man’s mind by way of domination has been the greatest and most successful experiment – the manipulation of man’s mind has resulted in a massive erosion of empathy, which has allowed status quo “business as usual” to continue uninterrupted with little resistance. Capitalism effectively bred a contempt for our Earth that multiplied like a virus. The pollution of mind mutated into narcissism with inflicted self-hatred to form a suicidal Molotov cocktail. Those who have succumbed now hold hands in a circle and taunt the very planet that gives us life. The ugly side of humanity continues to violently pierce our Earth Mother with drills and slash her beautiful skin with razors. She is losing breath. She is dying. Yet, when she lashes back, it will be with an Armageddon deathblow against which our own actions will resemble childish prattle. And perhaps not until this time will global society finally recognize that our shared purpose was not to compete with one another and claim dominance and superiority over our Earth Mother – but rather our role was to protect, defend and nurture. The human family – under the arm of its EuroAmerican “big brother” – will have finally succeeded in conquering our shared planet, only to find that we have destroyed ourselves.

Climate Genocide

Major greenhouse gas (GHG)-emitting developed states continued to dominate the climate talks in Cancún as the Earth burned. Corporate media continued to pander to those who own them, those who control the system. The major GHG-emitting developed states have and will continue to coerce, bribe and bully the strong developing states such as Bolivia and the vulnerable states such as Tuvalu. Such vulnerable states, as well as Africa, will be decimated if temperatures are allowed to rise by 2ºC. In reality, we are now looking at 3ºC to 5ºC. Further, a global temperature rise of 3ºC to 5ºC will mean much higher temperature extremes for Africa – a furnace for African agriculture. Certain death. The harsh history of the continued exploitation, the raping and pillaging of beautiful Africa and her people, will finally be complete. There will be nothing left for rich nations to steal except for the sun’s energy falling on an empty landscape void of life – and there is little doubt the world’s wealthiest, ethically-bankrupt states will steal this, too.

Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group. While a precise definition varies among genocide scholars, a legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG). Article 2 of this convention defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.” Because of the influence of Joseph Stalin, “this definition of genocide under international law does not include political groups.”

It should. This genocide is being carried out openly by the world’s wealthiest – individuals and corporations alike – in collusion with the governments of the obstructionist states, with full knowledge of the consequences.

Agriculture | The Disappearing Bread Basket

Strangely and eerily absent in scientific papers and IPCC reports is any reference to protection of agriculture. This is not an oversight. In 1987, the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee noted the threat to agriculture in particular, and stated its belief that “global warming is a potential environmental disaster on a scale only exceeded by nuclear war.” Once the United Nations Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (AGGG) low risk temperature rise of 1ºC was dismissed and essentially buried, the emphasis on protecting agriculture disappeared as well.

When global temperatures increase by more than 1ºC, approximately half of the world’s agricultural regions will experience crop decline. But due to the ocean heat lag effect, that 1ºC of increase will commit us to more than 1.5?C, which is food catastrophe for low latitude (the most climate change vulnerable) nations and disastrous for food security and agricultural productivity in other regions. Above 2?C is global food catastrophe with agriculture in decline globally, taking civilization with it.

Keep in mind that scientists believe the “agreements” from Cancún represent a real life 3?C to 5?C temperature rise this century (as early as 2040-2050) and a global 7?C if even the paltry commitments are not honoured.

This coming loss of agriculture – known yet ignored – will amount to certain mass genocide as millions, becoming billions around the world, will be left without food. There will be no sharing of food as even wealthy countries will be hard pressed to feed their own people. Importing for wealthy countries will be a thing of the past as vulnerable countries struggle to feed their own people. And all the while the Monsanto’s of the world will be salivating over the potential profits of genetically engineered foods, which could come to dominate and control the entire remaining food chain. An economy – no matter how strong – cannot provide nourishing soil, nor the right conditions to grow food. An economy – no matter how strong – cannot magically create water. Bolivians will lose access to water and, following, Africa will lose the ability to produce food. And all of the money in the world will not make this not so. [2]

Does Anyone Care? Yeah, the Pentagon

Will the decision in Cancún to ignore food security lead to violence, fundamentalism and terrorism – all directed at the wealthy GHG-emitting obstructionist states? What would you do if your children were dying in front of your eyes, because rich, developed nations were unwilling to stop growing their economies, unwilling to abandon a fossil fuel economy, unwilling to stop deforestation, unwilling to live within nature’s limits? If everything around you is dying, you have nothing to lose through violent retaliation.

Not to worry. While diseased cultural norms have kept the public distracted with shopping and irrelevant corporatized propaganda, the military has been gearing up for years for our upcoming climate wars. Indeed, while well-funded lobbyists engaged the public in a deadly game of “is global warming real?”, this issue was never a matter of dispute within the military and the US Pentagon itself. Within the realm of militarism, climate change and the deadly threats it presents have always been seen as unequivocal and the dangers it presents are viewed as unparalleled in magnitude. From the National Security and Threat of Climate Change Report: “Unlike the challenges that we are used to dealing with, these will come upon us extremely slowly, but come they will, and they will be grinding and inexorable. But maybe more challenging is that they will affect every nation, and all simultaneously” (VADM Richard Truly). Such stark warnings – even from the highest officials in the military ranks – continue to be ignored.

Climate Imperialism

COP16, Cancún, Mexico. The largest economic conference in history was an epic failure for humanity. And as the world burns, the wealthy elites stuffed their custom gold-lined Brioni pockets with dreams and promises of unsurpassed wealth predicated upon climate catastrophe in the 21st century. Ottmar Edenhofer, a German economist who is co-chair of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group III on Mitigation of Climate Change, stated in an interview on 14 November 2010:

“The climate summit in Cancún at the end of the month is not a climate conference, but one of the largest economic conferences since the Second World War.… [I]t’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization…. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore.…”

Although Edenhofer clearly recognizes and perhaps believes himself that there is no other way that wealthy obstructionist states will step up to the plate unless they can further enhance their economic power by commodifying the Earth’s last remaining natural resources, he does state this: “What we need to look for is an oasis that is the non-carbon global economy. It’s about the common departure for this oasis.” Edenhofer states unequivocally that only a non-carbon global economy can prevent climate catastrophe. In complete contrast, the Cancún outcome clearly tells us that the major GHG-emitting developed states are absolutely not about to end their addiction to the fossil fuel economy. Yet the fact is, only if we achieve zero carbon – at a speed and magnitude unparalleled in our entire history – can we prevent climate catastrophe.

IPCC 2007 Assessment Science Technical Report. Question 10.3: “If emissions of greenhouse gases are reduced, how quickly do their concentrations in the atmosphere decrease?”

“While more than half of the CO2 emitted is currently removed from the atmosphere within a century, some fraction (about 20%) of emitted CO2 remains in the atmosphere for millennia. Because of the slow removal process, atmospheric CO2 will continue to increase in the long term even if its emission is substantially reduced from its present levels. In fact, only in the case of essentially complete elimination of emissions can the atmospheric concentration of CO2 ultimately be stabilized at a constant level.”

Ultimate Denialism

In our unparalleled, corporatized mind game of ultimate denialism, we can pretend that green capitalism, green consumerism, conservation, flying less, the right light bulbs, transforming our Earth’s forests into carbon markets, etc. will all avert climate catastrophe – but this is unfortunately not true. The only way to avert climate catastrophe is to END our dependency on all fossil fuels. Unfortunately for our children, this view has been painted with the corporate brush as “radical” – a most brilliant word recently hijacked by those who have sold us off in the name of greed.

“… [T]he word radical [comes] from the Latin radicalis, meaning ‘root.’ Radical analysis goes to the root of an issue or problem. Typically that means that while challenging the specific manifestations of a problem, radicals also analyze the ideological and institutional components as well as challenge the unstated assumptions and conventional wisdom that obscure the deeper roots. Often it means realizing that what is taken as an aberration or deviation from a system is actually the predictable and/or intended result of a system.” [3]

The word “radical” is not a derogatory word to denote wild people, it is a term to embrace, one that describes critical thinking, root causes and self reflection. This is absolutely essential if we are to win the war on climate change. Yes, we can keep going on our suicidal journey, but the reality is that at the end of the road there will be nothing left except death. We are in a race to our own extinction, taking countless species with us – and it seems that if anyone tries to stand in our way with warning signs of “Danger Ahead,” they are pushed aside as we keep running as fast as we can – straight to the precipice.

Death, Lies & WikiLeaks

In Cancún, the wealthy obstructionist states, the states that are most responsible for the global planetary crisis in the first place, attempted to kill off the Kyoto Accord once and for all, replacing it with the “noted” Copenhagen Accord. This sleight of hand will effectively extinguish the threat of binding obligations on the wealthy nations while also eliminating the obligations of the 1992 climate convention. Any international climate accord that cites 2ºC, as sought in Copenhagen and Cancún, will be a legally and lethally binding agreement. What we are witnessing today is nothing less than the greatest crime ever committed against humanity.

The largely unnoticed 2009 State of the Future Report, the most comprehensive report ever produced to look at the future of the planet, states that due to climate change, “billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilization will collapse.” Saving the lives of billions is clearly off the real agenda behind the international climate negotiations. It is clear that global monetary wealth has evolved to become the only real issue behind this broken, corrupted process.

Even mainstream media recognize the glaringly obvious. The Guardian reports on 3 December 2010 that hidden behind the save-the-world rhetoric of the global climate change negotiations lies the dirty real life politics. The powerful greenhouse gas emitting states use money and threats to buy political support while spying and cyberwarfare are used to seek out leverage.”[D]istrust, broken promises and creative accounting dog climate negotiations and how the US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the controversial ‘Copenhagen accord,’ the unofficial document that emerged from the ruins of the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.” The US diplomatic cables, made public by WikiLeaks, clearly revealed how the US looks for dirt on vulnerable and developing states opposed to its business-as-usual approach and its steadfast refusal to tackle global warming. Further, the leaked cables revealed how financial and other aid is used by the world’s most powerful countries to gain political backing.

WikiLeaks reveals unequivocally that climate prostitution amongst the obstructionist states has become status quo. In a US Embassy cable, Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, suggested the AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States) countries “‘could be our best allies’ given their need for financing.” Hedegaard and Froman discussed the need to “neutralise, co-opt or marginalise unhelpful countries including Venezuela and Bolivia.” Hedegaard again links financial aid to support for the accord, noting “the irony that the EU is a big donor to these countries.” In April 2010, after this discussion, the US cut aid to Bolivia and Ecuador, citing opposition to the accord.

The US, determined to keep their crumbling imperialist empire intact, has continued to seek allies to protect self interests from states who could, in united fashion, threaten current global power structures. This is evident in a cable from Brussels on 17 February reporting a meeting between the deputy national security adviser, Michael Froman, Hedegaard and other EU officials. Froman stated that the EU needed to learn from Basic’s (four large developing countries – Brazil, South Africa, India and China) skill at impeding US and EU initiatives thereby playing them off against each other in order “to better handle third country obstructionism and avoid future train wrecks on climate.” Hedegaard demonstrates the complicit silence of the EU by stating that she “hoped the US noted the EU was muting its criticism of the US, to be constructive.”

It’s not as though we didn’t suspect this – climate justice activists have been battling climate opportunists for years. It is just that now it appears the players are so egocentric, they’re not even going to pretend otherwise. The question is, how did the greatest crisis ever to present itself to civilization come to be dominated by economic interests, in essence destroying our opportunity to prevent cataclysmic, irreversible climate change when we’ve understood for decades that it could be prevented? What happened to our threshold of 1ºC, which in 1990 we were warned not to exceed?

The Death of 1ºC

As discussed in Part I, 20 years ago it was recommended by the UN Advisory Group on Greenhouse Gases (AGGG) that the global average temperature not be allowed to rise more than 1ºC on the very reasonable principle of precaution. Their recommendation was based on not exceeding the historical temperature limit that has existed throughout the age of agriculture. (Civilization is based upon and now absolutely dependent upon agriculture.)

The IPCC was formed in 1988 out of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) AGGG (although proposals for the IPCC appear earlier). It appears that the formation of the IPCC was when the dynamics began to shift and climate change modelers – such as neoclassical economist, Bill Nordhaus – became heavily involved and most influential. Managing climate risk responses rather than simply focusing on reducing carbon dioxide emissions became the leading imperative. However, the First Assessment Report (FAR) Working Group 1 published by the IPCC in 1990 included the following in the Summary for Policymakers: “We calculate with confidence that … immediate reductions in emissions from human activities of over 60% [are needed] to stabilize concentrations at today’s levels…” (p. 1).

Tragically for the children of today and tomorrow, despite scientists calling for urgent emission cuts in 1988 and the UN AGGG report in 1990 citing 1ºC as the maximum temperature rise that the planet must not exceed, the 2ºC target became predominant in global climate policy by 1996. Climate models had been introduced in order to establish if and how far the global temperature could be allowed to rise above 1°C.The original European Union (EU) policy was an easing up on the 1ºC with a range of 1ºC to 2ºC. In 2001, the IPCC noted “warming over 1.5ºC raises serious potential threats for some systems and regions.”? In a short time, 2ºC was cited as the absolute limit to avoid planetary catastrophe (runaway global climate change). Prior to this, the EU’s position was that a 2ºC temperature rise was not safe because 2ºC could not ensure safety from runaway global climate change but would rather “minimize” it. From this time, the imperative 1ºC seemed to simply disappear.

The EU proposed 2ºC as the policy target in 1996. [4] The European Council (25 heads of government of the European Union) restated the 2ºC target in 2005, concluding that it was both scientifically justifiable and, more telling, that it was vital to promote cost effective action to ensure temperatures did not rise beyond the 2ºC limit. “Cost effective” is policy-making jargon implying that environmental protection measures will only be applied if it is certain that such measures will not result in any economic cost. Economic cost is determined by a cost-benefit analysis after externalizing social and environmental costs. In fact, the final paragraph of the final report of the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment (synthesis report) stated that it could not be said with certainty that mitigation of global climate change would have any economic benefits beyond the economic costs of unlimited global climate change.

Also in 2005, the British, chairing the Group of Eight (G8) meeting, reaffirmed the 2ºC target. The statements made by the G8, although not legally binding, were made with the intent that the 2ºC target would eventually become an accepted target of a global treaty. All eight of the G8 countries were amongst the 15 top-ranked leading export countries in the world.

As the Earth Burns

A 2005 EU report stated that the European Council first agreed on the 2ºC goal in 1996, based predominantly on the impact studies assessed in the second assessment report of the IPCC, even though the IPCC suggested that the risk of severe climate change impacts would increase markedly beyond a temperature rise of 2ºC. The EU considered 2ºC as a threshold. This is confirmed as recently as October 2009 by the European Commission: “… 2°C. That threshold is important because it minimises the risk of dangerous runaway climate change.” The 2005 report continues that recent studies have strengthened the argument that the EU’s target is high risk and that significant impacts on ecosystems and water resources are likely with a temperature increase as low as 1ºC. The report notes that once the global average temperature increase exceeds 2ºC, climate impacts on ecosystems, food production and water supply are projected to increase significantly, unexpected climate responses are more likely, and irreversible catastrophic events may occur.

In December 2010, a series of papers was published by the Royal Society. They are alarming. One critical paper, When Could Global Warming Reach 4°C?, states that with high emissions and strong carbon cycle feedbacks, we could reach a lethal 4ºC as early as 2060. A separate paper, Beyond ‘Dangerous’ Climate Change: Emission Scenarios for a New World, states that theimpacts associated with 2ºC have been revised upwards, sufficiently so 2ºC now more accurately represents the threshold between “dangerous” and “extremely dangerous” climate change. Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre, states in the published paper that if the world is to keep within a global temperature increase of 2ºC, this will require World War II-style rationing in the developed world.

Peak Delusion

Thousands of years from now, if there is still a human species on what will be left of Earth’s biosphere, this will be a story that so defies all logic and all sensibilities, no one will ever believe it.

“It may seem impossible to imagine that an advanced society such as ours could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing.” – Elizabeth Kolbert, in Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change

Ironically, many consider humans to be a brilliant, superior species. There is a term for such irrational logic. It is defined as Homo economicus: “Homo economicus, or Economic human, is the concept in some economic theories of humans as rational and narrowly self-interested actors who have the ability to make judgments toward their subjectively defined ends. This theory stands in contrast to the concept of Homo reciprocans, which states that human beings are primarily motivated by the desire to be cooperative, and improve their environment.” The Homo economicus perverse view of the world has reached peak influence in past decades as neo-classical economics.

Homo Economicus

30 November 2010: Emergence of the chair’s text. All references to the Tianjin negotiated text (October 2010) and to proposals from Bolivia and the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba (April 2010 – recognized in UNFCCC text in Bonn, June 2010) have vanished. [6]

8 December 2010 in Cancún: After pressure from Bolivia, the Chair re-introduced the bracketed section related to degrees (1ºC, 1.5ºC and 2ºC). However, she did not re-introduce key Tianjin bracketed sections, such as establishing an international tribunal.

10 December 2010: In the final text that passed the corrupted international climate negotiating process in Cancún, there is no mention of halting all further fossil fuel exploration, nor is there mention of major GHG-emitting developed states commencing a plan to begin capping extractions of current reserves. Eliminated from the text was the reference to 1ºC and guaranteed human rights in every action. Technology transfer to developing countries was eliminated. Gone are mechanisms of enforcement, including the proposal for an International Court of Justice. There is no mention of the impact of war and military industries on greenhouse gas emissions, as wars emit more emissions than entire countries.

There is no mention of stopping or even halting further expansion of the Canadian tar sands. The text includes no alternative options for reducing GHGs – no laws, positive regulation, or control of financial transactions – proposals that Bolivia had made to ensure that humans create a different relationship with the rest of nature through defense and recognition of the rights of nature.

The Cancún text implies there was consensus on launching new carbon market mechanisms even though this was not agreed upon. For example, the Earth’s forests are to be transformed into carbon markets, a move that indigenous peoples from all over the world have opposed and continue to vehemently oppose. Bolivia’s proposal for nations to conserve and preserve forests was not included. Of course there is no mention in the text of why it is ethically unjust to profit from pollution of our shared atmosphere, therefore important to make the practice illegal. Gone from the text is the essential zero carbon language – the most critical, most neglected and most denied aspect of climate change mitigation.

Disregarded was the advice of the International Energy Agency (IEA) to end subsidies to fossil fuels (which amounted to $558 billion worldwide in 2008). In the meantime, our inaction on climate change in 2009 alone has cost $1 trillion (IEA). [5] Governments claim a limit of 450 ppm, yet the IEA estimates that due to complete inaction in 2009, it will now cost an additional trillion dollars to stabilize the atmosphere at 450 ppm. Of course nothing has happened in 2010 either and Cancún promised further inaction. The recent IEA report stated that further delay will only escalate the crisis, that stabilization at a deadly 450 ppm simply will not happen.

In bitter irony, the investment necessary for the world to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies is approximately $30 trillion – approximately the same amount as the global transfer to the world’s banks following the engineered banking crisis of 2008.

The reality is ugly – wealthy states have trillions in bail-out money for “saving” the banks and corporations, but when it comes to saving lives of ordinary citizens, families and vulnerable peoples, such an investment is of no interest to the elites in power.

The Cancún Climate Agreements were prepared in direct response to requests from parties urging the president to present a text that covers all the issues and paints the whole picture of the outcome. It reflects the current status of the efforts of the delegations to converge on a “balanced” outcome [7] (with the one exception noted – that being Bolivia):

• agree to continue to agree on nothing, commit to nothing, and do nothing to prevent planetary global climate catastrophe

• agree to abandon the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

• agree to abandon the Kyoto Protocol principles

• agree to allow the global temperature to increase by 3°C to 4.2ºC

• agree to ignore catastrophic impacts on world and regional food and water security

• agree to ignore the catastrophic risks to planet Earth from Arctic climate feedbacks

• agree to continue supporting the fossil fuel industry, committing to the collapse of agriculture, civilization, humanity and most life on Earth

• agree to deny that the world is into dangerous interference with the climate system

• agree to deny that a planetary global climate emergency exists

• agree to deny the human rights – especially the right to survival – of the billions of most climate change vulnerable and indigenous peoples

• agree to deny the rights to survival and human rights of all future generations

• agree to deny the rights to survival of living ecosystems and all other species

• affirm that this agreement serves as a continuation of the delaying tactics and prevarication led by the industrialized nations in order to avoid complying with their human rights obligations and their obligations under the clear intent and terms of the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change [8]

“Propaganda does not deceive people; it merely helps them to deceive themselves.” – Eric Hoffer

Right now, the world must acknowledge and accept the reality that the UN climate change negotiations over the past two decades have served as nothing more than a brilliant and lethal distraction – a diversion that protected and allowed the global economic power structures to continue business as usual for the last 20 years – while emissions soared a further 40%. A far cry from the 66% emission reductions that scientists already knew were necessary back in the 1980s if the world was to avoid climate catastrophe. Lost is the window of time we had to set in motion legitimate solutions and measures for transitioning to a global zero carbon economy. Like the sham of corporate social responsibility and voluntary compliance, this process of climate change negotiations, too, has failed the people – a violent assault on the world’s most vulnerable who have been thrown out with the swill.

Have our intoxicated, manipulated minds become too diseased to see clearly what is happening now?

Have we become so desensitized that we are prepared to watch billions suffer, starve and die – simply because we lack the imagination to see a better world and lack the strength and resistance necessary to demand it?

The climate crisis is the final lap in the final race for what is left of the world’s remaining resources. When the race is over, the “winner” will be alone – to preside over an Earth that will resemble a global nuclear holocaust, a world that reeks of decay and death – and all of the money in the world won’t make it not so. The climate negotiations have become a corrupt broken process – an instrument not to legitimately slash emissions but rather to further expand corporate profits at any and every expense … in this case, life itself.

Next in Part III: Economy Versus Life Requires Tyranny Over Mind

How did delusional thinking come to replace rational, critical thinking?


[1] TIME TO BE BOLD: If one counts the G77, representing 130 developing states, along with some low-lying states or small island states that were not members of the G77, with some of the member states of the European Union, then possibly over 75% of the signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would have been prepared to sign and ratify a strong, legally binding agreement. It could be argued, on the one hand, that such an agreement would have been irrelevant because the major greenhouse gas producers would not have signed on. On the other hand, citizens in the major greenhouse gas producing states could have used a new legally binding agreement to pressure their governments to commit to stronger emission reductions; signatories to the new protocol could have forced the delinquent states to comply either through the International Court of Justice or through an International Climate Justice Tribunal set up specifically under the UNFCCC to address the failure to comply with international obligations under the UNFCCC. COP16, in Mexico, must respect the demands of the majority.

[2] Hello. This is the Map to the End of Our World. Good bye. | Climate Food2

[3] Robert Jensen’s (2004) book Writing Dissent: Taking Radical Ideas from the Margins to the Mainstream.

[4] By 1996, the EU commissioners focused not just on a target for keeping 2000 emission levels to 1990 levels, but also on working toward a maximum allowable temperature target of 2ºC. The EU target drew inspiration from being toward the lower end of the mid-range IPCC emissions scenario in the IPCC 1995 Second Assessment Report (SAR). This was interpreted to be a 2ºC temperature rise by 2100 and as the point beyond which climatic “dangers” would become more visible. While integrated assessment models provided possibilities for suggesting “danger” points, they did not uniformly suggest a specific target. IPCC did not highlight a specific target – instead they made a distinction of small (under 2ºC), medium (2–3ºC), and large (over 3ºC) temperature increases. Upon doing this, the IPCC intentionally or unintentionally conveyed a message that policy would be framed within these cited distinctions.

[5] The International Energy Agency defines “cost” as the cost to the fossil fuel economy according to the conventional, environmentally perverse, cost-benefit analysis. In reality, ending fossil fuel subsidies and subsidizing clean, safe, renewable energy would be a massive benefit to the zero carbon energy industries and to all future generations.

[6] 16 August 2010: Bolivian UN Ambassador Pablo Solon reported that after the climate change conference in Bonn, proposals from the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba were still in the negotiating document: “After a week of negotiations, the main conclusions of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (Cochabamba, April 2010) have been incorporated in the document of United Nations on Climate Change, that now has been recognized as a negotiation text for the 192 countries which have been congregated in Bonn, Germany, during the first week August of 2010.” The most important points that were incorporated for consideration in the next round of negotiations before Cancún, which took place in China, are:

1) 50% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by developed countries for second period of commitments from the Kyoto Protocol years 2013 to 2017.

2) Stabilize the rise of temperature to 1ºC and 300 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

3) To guarantee an equitable distribution of atmospheric space, taking into account the climate debt of emissions by developed countries for developing countries.

4) Full respect for the human rights and the inherent rights of indigenous peoples, women, children and migrants.

5) Full recognition to the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous People’s Rights.

6) Recognition and defense of the rights of Mother Earth to ensure harmony with nature.

7) Guarantee the fulfillment of the commitments from the developed countries though the building of an International Court of Climate Justice.

8) Rejection of the new mechanisms of carbon markets that transfer the responsibility of the reduction in emissions of greenhouse gases from developed countries to developing countries.

9) Promotion of measures that change the consumption patterns of the developed countries.

10) Adoption of necessary measures in all relevant forums to exclude from the protection of the intellectual property rights those ecologically sustainable technologies that are useful to mitigate climate change.

11) Developed countries will allocate 6% of their national gross product to actions relative to Climate Change.

12) Integrated management of forests for mitigation and adaptation, without applying market mechanics and with the full participation of indigenous peoples and local communities.

13) Prohibition of the conversion of natural forest for plantations, since the monoculture plantations are not forest, and instead encourage the protection and conservation of natural forests.

[7] Opening statement on draft text document. Note by the president.

[8] A People’s Assessment on the Outcome of the Cancún Climate Negotiations. Dr. Peter Carter is the climate policy advisor for Canadians for Action on Climate Change.

Cory Morningstar is climate justice activist whose recent writings can be found on Canadians for Action on Climate Change and The Art of Annihilation site where you can read her bio. You can follow her on Twitter: @elleprovocateur

United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP)

Resources on the NRDC and USCAP

Members of the United States Climate Action Partnership

– Top climate scientist Dr. James Hansen: NRDC showing “poor judgment”

– Support for Carbon Trading Ignores History’s Lessons and Basic Economics, Leading Environmental Economist Charles Komanoff (of the Carbon Tax Center) declares. “Come Back, NRDC!” ( 4 minute video )

– Dr. James Hansen on “Why we’re targeting the NRDC Greenwash” (2 min video)

NRDC’s Greatest (Environmental) Hits

From the Mobilization for Climate Justice Organization

NRDC – Undermining sound environmental campaigns through deal-making and betrayals

Here below are a few examples of this corporate-friendly “environmental” group’s greatest betrayals of sound, uncompromised environmental positions. At the end of this post, we offer some background on NRDC’s role in shaping current US climate policy and conclusions about US Climate Policy moving forward in an equitable, sound manner.

Our actions on Nov 30 sent a warning shot across the bows of corporate ‘greens’ who distort climate science on behalf of major polluters and are obstructing and undermining grassroots campaigns for a prompt transition to a just, low carbon economy.

The MCJ proposes a range of solutions (including leaving hydrocarbons in the ground and more).

Table of Contents

1. NRDC played a key role in the formation and promotion of the United States Climate Action Partnership (2007- present):
2. NRDC is promoting methane gas drilling despite absence of scientific studies (2007)
3. NRDC supports New Coal Plants
4. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the N.R.D.C.
5. Oil Giant Conoco and NRDC vs. the Ecuadorean Amazon and Huaorani – forest-dependent peoples (1991)
6. NRDC and Enron: Role in Utility Deregulation
7. A Kinder Gentler Alberta Tar Sands
8. Utility Shill NRDC attacks Prop. 7
Background on NRDC and Current Climate Policy

NRDC’s Greatest (Environmental) Hits

‘No compromise’ faction attacks climate bill 104 | NRDC


‘No compromise’ faction attacks climate bill

by Jonathan Hiskes

1 Oct 2009 5:08 PM

$2 trillion billCourtesy Climate SOSGlobal warming activists endorsed by the preeminent climatologist James Hansen are working to defeat the climate and energy bill in Congress, and they’re using some provocative stunts to spread their message.


  • Activists handed out fake $2 trillion bills at a rally for climate legislation in New York last week, criticizing the size of the global-warming emissions market they oppose. ($2 trillion is their estimate for the size of the emissions market they oppose.) The bills depict Al Gore holding a wrench and a compact-fluorescent light bulb and the words “Corporate Giveaways! Carbon Ponzi Schemes! FALSE SOLUTIONS!”
  • Others hung a 14-foot banner of the same bill from the Manhattan headquarters of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
  • “Cap’n Trade,” an actor in a pirate costume, unfurled a similar banner at a presentation by Connie Hedegaard, chairperson of the Dec. 2009 UN Climate Summit and Denmark’s minister for climate and energy.
  • Still others blocked a motorcade of UN delegates to drop a banner with the message “Cap + Trade is a Dead End.”

At least three groups worked together on last week’s events—Climate SOS, Rising Tide North America, and “Greenwash Guerrillas,” which pied Thomas Friedman last year. They all hold a “no compromise” philosophy on climate-change action, opposing carbon markets that allow polluters to buy and sell pollution credits and arguing that larger environmental groups such as NRDC have compromised too much in working with businesses and Democratic lawmakers.

“It’s an awkward position to be environmentalists working on climate change but opposing a climate bill,” said Climate SOS organizer Rachel Smolker, a Vermont ecologist and author. “Especially with a new administration that we want to support. But we felt we need to take a really strong position because this [bill] is so inadequate.”

The campaign is awkward for “establishment” green groups too. They’ve been preparing to battle fossil-fuel interests over the energy bill introduced in the Senate this week. Now they must figure out if and how to respond to this attack from the far left.

“It’s troubling,” said Daniel J. Weiss, director for climate strategy at the Center for American Progress, a center-left think tank with close ties to the Obama administration. “No one believes that the clean energy bill that will come out of Congress will address the threat of global warming in a single step. But we have to start.”

“The real enemies are Big Oil and Big Coal and the right wing attack machine,” he said. “For them to mock [Gore] in the way they did shows that they don’t understand you need to attack your enemies and not your allies.”

Hansen’s involvement is especially troublesome. The director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies wasn’t involved in the New York stunts, but he endorsed Climate SOS’s recent tour against a climate bill. The $2 trillion bill includes his statement that a cap-and-trade program “would be worse for the environment than doing nothing.”

The opposition by Hansen and Climate SOS is unlikely to influence Washington policymakers, in Weiss’s opinion, but it’s got the potential to make everyday Americans think the situation is hopeless.

“If they hear from such a respected scientist as James Hansen that what Congress is doing won’t matter, then why would they bother to call their senators to say ‘Act on this’?” he said.

What does that even mean?

Banner at NRDCClimate SOS activists at NRDC’s headquartersCourtesy tanukiAside from the stunts last week, other moves by the “no-compromise” camp are downright perplexing. Last week Greenwash Guerrillas launched a website in response to, a three-month-old diverse coalition supporting a comprehensive energy bill. The similar-sounding was a replica of the real Clean Energy Works site, with two notable changes: The phone number and email address for spokesperson Josh Dorner had been changed. His name was left the same. The site changed to a more innocuous version over the weekend and is currently down. (Have a screen grab? Send it in and we’ll post.)

Dorner had no interest in speaking about the site that took his name. “I don’t send too much of my day worrying about a website,” he said Thursday. “There are considerably more important tasks before us to get this bill across the Senate floor.”

NRDC spokesperson Michael Oko shared Dorner’s reluctance to give attention to the stunts. “There are a lot of different groups out there,” he said in regard to the banner hung at NRDC’s office. “Everybody has the right to express themselves.”

About the replica website Oko said, “Frankly, I was a little confused about what their intention was.”

Smolker of Climate SOS said the idea was “to provide a spoof, to reveal the emptiness of the claims Clean Energy Works provides. For them, it’s green jobs and clean energy and everything’s a smiley-face, you know? Our goal is to tell people to look deeper and take the smiley faces off.”

At EDFAt Environmental Defense Fund.Courtesy tanukiShe said she contributed ideas for the mock site, but individuals from Greenwash Guerrillas, who did not want to be identified, created the idea.

The 51-year-old Smolker has seen firsthand how environmental groups can evolve, professionalize, and grow in wealth and influence. Her father was one of the founders of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), another group targeted by Climate SOS last week. EDF met in her childhood home when it was still a “ragtag group,” as Climate SOS is now, she said. (Smolker, who works for Biofuel Watch, declined to give funding information for Climate SOS but said all members were volunteers.)

“We’ve played that compromise game for a long time,” she said. “There’s too much at stake right now.”

The old saw

The compromise question—whether to sacrifice what is ecologically necessary for what seems politically possible–has been around as long as the green movement itself. The naturalist-and-mystic John Muir and the politician-and-forester Gifford Pinchot clashed over the same tensions in the early 20th century.

As for Hansen’s “worse than nothing” remark, there has been plenty written about the failings of the House climate and energy bill—it gives away too much to dirty-energy backers, it even protects coal-plant pollution from further regulation. But there is historical precedent of legislation that is deeply flawed at first evolving into something effective and durable. The original Clean Air Act did not address the acid rain crisis, an omission not corrected until 1990. The original Social Security Act did not include domestic or agricultural workers, effectively excluding many Hispanic, black, and immigrant workers, as Democratic strategist Paul Begala notes.

“If that version of Social Security were introduced today, progressives like me would call it cramped, parsimonious, mean-spirited and even racist,” writes Begala. “Perhaps it was all those things. But it was also a start. And for 74 years we have built on that start.”

Most progressives, including many major green groups, would gladly embrace an imperfect climate bill as a start.

“Those who see the House clean energy bill as somehow tainted by deals, and therefore want a carbon tax, have to understand that no tax proposal would ever emerge from Congress as we know it without similar or worse deals being made,” said Weiss. “Unfortunately the moral high ground of ‘we must act for our children’ is necessary but not sufficient for our political process.”

Smolker said Climate SOS would continue on a different tack, insisting on an acceptable bill from the get-go. She expected the group would pause to take stock of the bill released in the Senate this week, then regroup.

Here’s Cap’n Trade delivering his message to Danish climate and energy minister Connie Hedegaard: